TRAINING:: Training Centres Are Producing Sub-standard Artisans
Recent Gauteng Business News
A construction industry survey has pinpointed a parlous skills shortage in the building and construction sector, throwing serious doubts on South AfricaÂ’s ability to harness and supply the necessary skills for its much-touted R4-trillion infrastructure programme over the next 15 years.Master Builders South Africa warned of a "critical" shortage of supervisory skills on building sites and said this threatened safety.
"Expect more building disasters if training is not stepped up," Master Builders executive director Tumi Dlamini said earlier this month. The body is a major employer representative in the building and construction industry in South Africa.
"The increasingly regular media reports about such disastrous building collapses merely endorse our membersÂ’ apprehension," she said, in a recent press article in BUSINESS DAY.
Dr Richard Lewis, head of strategy at the Artisan Training Institute (ATI) Â– a leading majority black-owned training institution - said the country is simply not training enough Â“truly skilled artisansÂ”.
Â“What is being produced by many training centres Â– and released into the marketplace Â– is simply not acceptable. It is akin to expecting grade 8 pupils to handle the work of grade 12 students.. It just wonÂ’t work and, yes, we will end up with buildings collapsing and projects not being finished on time Â– or, if finished, completed with sub-standard workmanship. It is no good just pumping numbers through the system. We need to produce fully trained, competent artisans Â– not just squeeze them through a sausage vending machine.Â”
The survey showed that 41% of the Master Builders respondents regarded the shortage of skilled construction foremen as "most critical" in all worker categories covered. It also showed low support among employers for formal training. Only about 11% of respondents conducted accredited or formal staff training, with close to two-thirds of these opting for in-house courses.
"Based on this alarming feedback, which, in effect, means that many building contractors are undertaking building operations without skilled supervision on site, South Africa should not be surprised if more structures collapse, and more people are killed," Ms Dlamini said.
The survey said more training was essential for multiskilled staff such as tilers, glazers, plasterers, plumbers, welders and shop-fitters, who were in short supply.
The report said employers could get back up to 90% of the levies they paid if they got the paperwork right and trained artisans to government requirements. The numbers of young people in training and the quality of training are not seen to match the countryÂ’s needs.Ms Dlamini said most employers surveyed had assessed accredited artisan training as poor- a sentiment corroborated by ATIÂ’s Dr Lewis who added that ATI has experienced substantial growth due to companies seeking out training centers which actually produce competent artisans in order to safeguard their own businesses .
It was noted in the report that more than 80% of employers said they would support the establishment of a "national training register of qualified artisans" for the industry.
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